Everyone loves to see a guy get crossed up so badly he falls to the ground. “He broke his ankles!” we scream and watch the highlight again and again and again. And I agree, it’s always fun to see a shifty guard with incredible handles twist a defender into a pretzel and drop him to the floor.
But there’s an alternative to breaking someone’s ankles, and while it doesn’t get as much attention as a good crossover, it’s just as potent. It’s the drop-step that leaves a defender absolutely stunned, and Luka Doncic did it to Deandre Ayton in the opening quarter of Game 3 of the Dallas Mavericks’ second round series against the Phoenix Suns:
Watch Doncic as he separates Ayton from his soul with just two pivots. If a hole to the center of the Earth opened up on the court and enveloped Ayton, would you have been surprised? Sure, Ayton isn’t an All-NBA defender or anything, but he’s a young, athletic big with a good wingspan. And he has absolutely no answer for Doncic making moves in a tight space.
It’s almost like watching a ballet mixed with MMA when you see Luka pivoting on a dime like that. Fans will often lament the lack of fundamentals in the NBA, but watching the clip above should make them drool. If Doncic keeps up post moves like that, we’ll start hearing about young centers going to study with him in the offseason instead of Hakeem Olajuwon.
If only Ross Gellar could be so efficient pivoting.
Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.